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Throwback Thursday: Oklahoma State Beats St. Mary’s, Wins National Championship



Such sweet words I never thought I would hear. But now they are true. Oklahoma State has a national championship in football! And we have the trophy to prove it.

So let’s take a dive back into the archives to see Oklahoma State’s title-winning game against St. Mary’s in the 1946 Sugar Bowl. It was the last time OSU would play in the Sugar Bowl until 2016, and the entire thing was incredible. Just listen to this opening of the game recap from the Sugar Bowl’s website.

Men against boys. Even though the boys were pretty good, so were the bigger, more worldly men.

Oklahoma A&M was a team that started seven war veterans, including fullback Jim Reynolds who flew 52 missions over Germany, and tackle Bert Cole who had been shot down over Yugoslavia and spent months among the Chetniks while making his way back to allied lines. In contrast, St. Mary’s was a lot like Alabama in 1945 with seven 17-year-old starters on a team with an average age of 18-1/2.

Also, A&M, the heaviest team to play in the first 12 Sugar Bowls at a 203-pound average, was man-for-man 15 pounds larger than the Sugar Bowl’s youngest team ever.

Oklahoma State rolled to a 33-13 win that day that flummoxed St. Mary’s coach Jim Phelan. He literally locked the media out of his locker room after the game before finally letting them in to chat.

“Too much power – too much speed. And, above all, too much Fenimore.”

Fenimore ran for 125 yards that day and two TDs. He threw for another. The win for AP No. 5 OSU capped off a 9-0 season. OSU allowed just 76 points all year (can you imagine the Vines we would have gotten had Glenn Spencer been coordinator?) Here’s a look at the full schedule which included Denver and Tulsa.


I have no idea why the AFCA retroactively awarded OSU with this national championship, but apparently we are shipping in the trophies, the crystal and everything that goes along with a title. Here is the AFCA’s reasoning:

The Oklahoma State squad of 1945 (then-referred to as Oklahoma A&M) had an average margin of victory of 23.2 points and still hold numerous school records, including fewest points allowed, lowest average points allowed, fewest first downs allowed, fewest rushing yards allowed and fewest yards allowed per game. The 1945 squad also ranks in the top 10 in several more offensive and defensive categories, all of which is remarkable considering that season was played 70 years ago.

The AP No. 1 team that year was Army. Army’s schedule was soft! Louisville Field! Melville PT Boats! SMH! Sad!


All of this unfolding on Thursday elicited maybe the greatest tweet I have ever seen.

Here’s what it looks like to win a national title. What a day.

Also, I bet none of these men every thought someone would make a GIF of them 70 years later.

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